NCAN's 2016 Champion of College Access: Kellie Dean

September 21, 2016

By Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations 

Kellie Dean won the Bob Craves Champion of College Access Award today at NCAN’s 21st national conference, held in Detroit, Michigan.

Kellie Dean is the President and CEO of Dean Transportation, Inc., providing special needs transportation services for Michigan school districts; Dean Management Services, Inc., providing management services for special needs transportation in Michigan; and Dean Trailways of Michigan, providing luxury transportation services throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Mr. Dean employs more than 2,500 individuals and operates and manages 2,000 vehicles. He is a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.S. from the College of Education and a master’s degree in special education administration. He is deeply committed to the economic revival of Lansing and all of Michigan. 

As chairperson of the Lansing Promise, Mr. Dean leads efforts to raise $5 million in charitable donations by 2017 to support the program. The Lansing Promise scholarship was first awarded in 2011 and provides financial assistance to high school graduates within the Lansing School District geographic boundaries. Eligible students receive funding for tuition and fees at Lansing Community College for up to 65 credits (equivalent to an associate’s degree) or $5,000 at Michigan State University. The program expects to award 200 scholarships this year. 

An estimated 925 students graduate from Lansing School District and Lansing Catholic Central high schools annually. Historically, only about 40 percent of graduating students, or 330, were college bound. Lansing Promise will directly benefit Lansing by increasing the number of high school and college graduates, helping to retain and attract jobs and industry, providing the potential to raise personal income that supports local businesses, revitalizing core urban areas, and strengthening the community’s social fabric.

The Lansing Promise is a partner in the Capital Area College Access Network, a collaborative community organization dedicated to increasing the college attainment rate of Lansing and Ingham County, MI. The network includes representatives from education, higher education, business, nonprofit, philanthropy, and government.  CapCAN targets support and services to low-income, communities of color, and first-generation students to ensure they get the support they need to enter and complete postsecondary education. 

Mr. Dean has an exceptional record of community involvement. In 2016, he received the Mayor of Lansing’s Cup for Civic Excellence. In 2013, the Martin Luther King Commission honored him with the Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award.  He was also honored as the West Michigan MSU Business Person of the year and the Mid-Michigan MSU Alumni Association Heroes Award.  In 1995, Mr. Dean was named the “North American School Bus Contractor of the Year” by School Bus Fleet magazine.   In 1983, the Council for Exceptional Children named him “Outstanding Special Education Teacher” in Michigan.  

Mr. Dean has served as President of the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation, Chairperson of the Michigan Department of Education’s Pupil Transportation Advisory Council, and Chairperson of its Special Education Advisory Committee.  He has served or is currently serving on the boards of the Association for Retarded Citizens, Boy Scout Chief Okemos Council, Lansing Area Safety Council, Marvin E. Beekman Center Work Activity Center, Lansing Educational Advancement Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Foundation, Capital Area United Way, Ebersole Foundation, BoarsHead Theater, Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross, Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, Michigan Dyslexia Institute, and Communities In Schools of Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder named Mr. Dean as a delegate to the National Education Commission of the States.  Mr. Dean also supports Special Olympics throughout Michigan.

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